A dog’s tail tells tales if you know how to listen to its signals

The older I get, the less I know. That’s a given. Although, I do recall how remarkably smart I was as a teen.

I knew everything — even more than my parents. It wasn’t until I started getting older that I realized how much my parents had to endure with my false sense of sensibility.

The same seems to be true for me with pets. The older I get, the less I find I know. And, that is somewhat unsettling to me.

I consider myself a student for life. I love learning — about many things. I am especially constantly trying to learn all I can about dogs and cats, but the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

How humbling can that be?

After all these years of working with and adopting rescue pups and kitties, I know I’ve learned quite a bit from my studies, my vets, my fellow pet friends, and by trial and error with my own pets.

Yet, I am never quite 100 percent sure of the amount of knowledge I’ve accumulated and for good reason!

Learning is lifelong. We are always learning, and there is always more to be learned!

I was recently studying a chart on dog behavior and how body language is the key to understanding what your dog is thinking and feeling, according to Brightside.com.

Our pets may not be able to talk to us in so many words, but they speak volumes by expressing their feelings and thoughts through body language.

For example, a dog’s tail speaks loudly and clearly — if you are listening.

If the dog wags his tail slowly, he doesn’t understand what’s going on and is asking you what you want him to do. When the dog’s tail is wagging rapidly, this means he admits that you are in charge.

If the tail is raised and it tremors slightly, the dog is issuing a challenge to your authority because he considers himself to be in charge of the situation.

This is not a good situation and must be addressed immediately. There can only be one alpha in a pack, and it had better be you and not the dog.

A tail tucked between the dog’s legs is a sign that the dog is afraid, in pain, or feels uncomfortable. If there are no obvious reasons for concern and your pet tucks his tail quite often, you should take him to a vet.

Pets talk to us by giving us so many cues through body language. It is our job to learn to see and read those cues and be in close touch with them.

Cats are no different. They speak through body language, as well. Trust me.

Do yourself a favor and read a few articles or books on pet cues or contact your local pet trainer. They are a wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped into.

Both you and your pet will be happier, healthier and even closer the more you learn to “hear” what your pet is saying.

Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode is the author of “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at

ahanna@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.